Advanced, ‘Smart’ proppants and Neutral Buoyancy Proppants (NBP) can improve proppant transport, safety, and distribution.

Unconventional hydraulic fracturing in the U.S. and global markets has been on the rise for the past several years. Proppants are solid materials, like sand or man-made ceramics, designed to keep hydraulic fracture sopen, during or following a fracturing treatment. Proppant choice positively impacts output rate and overall recovery of a well.

One of the main challenges of using proppant to stimulate wells outside of the continental US is the lack of a suitable local proppant supply. Import of silica, resin coated or ceramic proppants are cost prohibitive, and add a logistical burden to the entire operation.

Oceanit is working on several advanced proppant technologies to improve many aspects of proppant use, including safety, waste, distribution of proppant, and intelligent smart proppants.

Oceanit developed a neutrally buoyant proppant (NBP) using a novel technology to effectively modify the proppant to achieve neutral buoyancy in low viscosity fluids. This gives the proppant the ability to maintain suspension in the fracturing fluids (slick water) and also travel deeper into the fractures without settling. With less proppant settling and greater distribution in the fracture sites, NBP economically increases production.

  • Enhanced proppant transport deep into the fractures with minimal settling increases stimulated reservoir volume
  • Higher proppant pack conductivity at high formation pressures for increased production
  • Reduced amount of proppant needed to completely fill the features compared to silica sand
  • Minimizes usage of fracturing fluid additives, like crosslinkers, and friction reducers, for pumping proppant through the fractures

Oceanit is also developing VuFrac, a smart proppant with acoustic capabilities to enable mapping of fractures and multi-parameter intelligence feedback such as well geometry and behavior of the propped fracture, including aspects like proppant bed height, coverage and flow directions, perforation efficiency and details of wellbore connectivity.

proppant slot test
Slot test results for untreated silica sand proppant and Oceanit’s neutrally buoyant proppant (NBP). Untreated proppant settles quickly to the bottom of the slot channel, while NBP’s neutrally buoyant properties carry the proppant through the length of the slot channel.
Vials with Oceanit’s neutrally-buoyant proppant on the right and untreated brown sand on the left.